Vincentian Canon

The test of religious truth laid down by Vincent of Lérins* (early fifth century) in Adversus profanas omnium novitates haereticorum Commonitorium, an attack on Augustine's predestination teaching. The criterion states “what has been believed everywhere, always and by all.” Vincent maintained that the final ground of truth lies in Scripture; by this threefold test of universality, antiquity, and consent the church can differentiate between true and false traditions. The order of the tests should be noted: certain nineteenth-century English writers frequently misquoted the canon by putting “always” first.